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Homeboy: Can it be Your Best Friend or Your Enemy?

Published: Apr 01, 2016 at 08:00 UTC
Homeboy security camera

When it comes to home security, nothing’s more important than trust and who can you trust more than your Homeboy? Your newest Homeboy comes in the version of a wireless IP camera that you can set up to be your eyes and ears when you’re away.

While it’s a cloud-based camera like many on the market right now, it stands apart from them since the Homeboy takes a new, fresh and unique perspective in terms of home security.

In fact, sometimes it seems to take too far of a leap from common convention. However, let’s take the time to find out why you may want this Homeboy to become your BFF or in terms of securing your home.

What are the Homeboy’s Features?

This do-it-yourself camera includes some features you would expect from a home-based security camera and a few more that you probably hadn’t even considered before.

Here are a few note-worthy features that you are sure to enjoy:

• Circular Cradle Design
• 640×480 Resolution
• Battery Back-up
• Night Vision with a Built-in Light
• Built-in Siren
• Free Cloud Storage
• Built-in Microphone and Speaker
• App for Both Android and iOS
• Motion Detection with Alerts
• GPS-enabled
• Capture Mode
• IFTTT Integration

One of the standout features of the Homeboy camera is its unique design. It’s similar to a big eyeball about the size of a billiard ball held in a cradle base. A magnetic section in the actual camera allows you to rotate and move it around to achieve that perfect placement. Yeah, it sounds cool and looks even cooler.

Homeboy security cameraWant to know something else pretty cool? The cradle base is detachable and the bottom of the cradle feels sticky through the use of magnets. This means that it will stick to basically any flat surface. Therefore, you can stick this little camera almost anywhere to provide for your security needs. Whether you want it to be a showpiece where all can see or be a little more incognito, you have options.

With a resolution of 640×480, honestly, it’s not the best. The picture could be a lot more crisp and clear, so be aware of that. The picture is so-so, definitely far from being HD quality, but it’s not too bad. Hopefully, the makers will take note and work on improving the resolution to at least 720 for the next go around. Don’t get us wrong, you can still see everything reasonably clearly without having to strain your eyes to figure out what’s going on.

The lithium polymer battery on the Homeboy definitely had us excited; it has been one of the best we have seen thus far. Yes, we have no problem admitting that since we consider ourselves to be home security experts. Once this camera is fully-charged, you can well expect to get around 3 months use out of it.

Of course, it depends on how much you record, the usage of the LED lights and that sort of thing but 3 months is a good ballpark. To fully take advantage of this extended battery life, the Homeboy must be charged through the micro USB port that’s conveniently located in the back of the camera. This long-lasting battery allows this model to be more mobile as compared to other DIY security cameras.

If you know anything about home security cameras, then you probably know that night vision is basically a must at this stage in the game. Homeboy is no exception and provides night vision via a built-in light. Stay on top of what’s going on in your home day or night.

This is one feature that we really enjoyed and found quite refreshing: the siren. The idea is that a burglar breaks in, the siren will activate and scare them away. The siren isn’t particularly loud but it’s definitely a nice feature and could definitely scare somebody away who’s not expecting it. Take that, burglar.

When is the last time you heard of a home security camera offering free cloud storage? Probably not very often, if at all. We’ve reviewed cameras where you had to spend at least $100 per year for cloud storage and that was all dependent on the amount of clips.

The Homeboy will save your video clips to Dropbox or Google drive for free. No work for you and free? That sounds like winning to us.

The Homeboy even provides you with a little audio to go with your vision. A microphone built into the front is able to detect noise within the range of the camera. The speaker in the back emits the siren when needed. Not only will you have eyes in your home when you’re away but ears as well.

Homeboy has an app that is compatible with both iOS and Android smartphones to streamline your security needs. Through the app, you can set-up your camera, monitor clips, customize and much more. We found it extremely helpful and easy to use, as did other users.

Homeboy security cameraWhen motion is detected by the Homeboy, you’ll be alerted through either email or push notifications. You can go to the app and set up your preferences so that you never miss out on what’s happening when you’re away.

Through the GPS locator on your phone, you can enable Homeboy’s arm and disarm modes. When arm is turned on, it automatically arms the camera when you leave your home. When you return? Yes, you guessed it, the Homeboy is disarmed.

In addition, you’ll receive push notifications or email alerts when you’re away, but they stop when you return home. This system worked extremely well and we really don’t have any complaints about it, if you can imagine us with no complaints.

Capture mode, what is that? Basically see what’s going on any Homeboy camera you have set up at any given moment. Press the button on the app and all of the action is right at your fingertips.

IFTTT is one more thing that makes the Homeboy a bit of rebel. All of these letters mean that you are able to integrate and automate your life through recipes. For example, you can create a recipe to have it connected to the lights so that every time a motion is sensed, it can turn on that particular light.

There are all types of smart home integrations you can try out. We won’t go too much into detail but for the purposes of this camera, you would be able to name people whom you want to receive alerts when your Homeboy is activated. This could be like a virtual, 21st century neighborhood watch but without nosey neighbors peeking into your windows.

Is the Homeboy Easy to Set Up?

We found it to be simple enough. Just download the app and create an account to obtain the instructions to set up the camera. You’ll be able to set up your location, opt in the “Arm by GPS” feature, charge the camera and enter your Wi-Fi information. While the camera is charging, you can still work on it. Basically, you shouldn’t have any real issues setting up.

So, What Complaints Do You Have about the Homeboy?

Since we held our complaints earlier, we’ll go ahead and let them rip right now.

Here are our main gripes:

• No Two-way Communication
• Motion Detection’s Limited Range
• No Live Streaming
• No HD Video Quality
• Connectivity Issues

Even though there are built-in microphones and speakers, there’s no two-way communication. Meaning? Meaning that you aren’t able to provide audio yourself. Some DIY cameras allow you to speak even while remote, but the Homeboy doesn’t have that capability. Instead of yelling at the kids to stop jumping on the couch when you catch them on the camera, maybe you can scare them with the siren.

Homeboy security cameraWhen it comes to motion detection and sensing, the Homeboy falls pretty short. It only has a range of about 15 feet especially when you compare it to other models with 60 feet. This causes many people to question whether the Homeboy is truly a security camera.

We feel this is a major hindrance in terms of security so you might need to invest in more than one camera to strategically place around to ensure you are getting all-around security. You could also capitalize on the Homeboy’s IFTTT and connect to SmartThings and through that, you could connect to detectors and sensors. These are just a couple of things to consider if you just have to have this camera.

We have alluded to this earlier but unlike most bona fide at-home security cameras, the Homeboy doesn’t live stream. You’re not going to get continuous feed in real-time of what’s going on in your home when you’re not away; however, Homeboy has another trick up its sleeve. Instead, you have the ability to record your own clips when you choose to.

Press the “Record Now” button and you can adjust the clip to record between 5 and 30 seconds. See how the Homeboy can take a possible problem and provide a solution? That’s something you want to look for in your home security system.

Since Homeboy is truly wireless and gets its life blood from Wi-Fi, if Wi-Fi dies so does your Homeboy. If you lose connection to your Wi-Fi network, the camera loses its connection and you receive an email alerting you.

One user said:

“Homeboy was nice when it was working but kept losing connectivity with the camera.”

Sometimes, the connection doesn’t immediately return so you could be stuck without your security for a bit. After it comes back on, you are going to receive alerts of all of the motion detected so this could be a little overwhelming.

Of course, this isn’t really all Homeboy’s fault since it’s an actual network issue. Don’t be too hard on your Homeboy.

Why is the Homeboy so Much Different than Other DIY Home Cameras?

One thing that we love about the Homeboy is that it does home security a little differently from everybody else. While all of the other big boy cameras focus primarily on live streaming, HD quality and such, Homeboy, the naughty little brother, seeks to be simplistic, stylish and mobile.

A larger focus on mobility is predicated by the longer-lasting battery and magnetic design. The Homeboy doesn’t just want to be a homebody that is stuck in one place but wants to be able to move around and give you a better sense of security.

The Homeboy is also all about simplicity and ease, which is the reason why there is no live streaming and HD quality video. Homeboy focuses more on its IFTTT capabilities to streamline and automate your home, including your approach to home security.

The Homeboy truly shows there is more than one way to do home security. This particular model might seem flighty and a little of a free spirit when it comes to security, but this approach can work for many.

Homeboy security cameraHow Much Will the Homeboy Cost Me?

Even though the Homeboy could become your best friend, nothing is free, including friendship. The Homeboy will set you back $149.00 which is reasonable when you consider the features you get and some of the ones you don’t.

A Final Recap

If you’re still on the fence, here’s a final rundown of why the Homeboy may or may not be for you:

Pros:

• IFTTT Capabilities
• Mobile Design
• Free Cloud Storage
• Built-in Siren
• GPS-enabled
• Arm and Disarm Modes
• Long Battery Life
• Capture Mode

Cons:

• No Two-way Communication
• Limited Motion Detection
• No Live Streaming
• No HD Video Quality
• Connectivity Issues

Is the Homeboy My Friend or Enemy?

We’ll go ahead and say it will be your friend. The Homeboy may look minimal when compared to other cameras, but that’s part of its charm.

 
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